Study Shows R-Rated Movies Negatively Affect Kids' Behavior

Children are influenced by a character's actions
by Pat Centner

(AgapePress) - Moms and dads who don't monitor what types of movies their kids see - either on TV or at the theater - may be in for an unpleasant surprise.

A recent study conducted by researchers at Dartmouth College focused on finding out if kids whose parents let them watch R-rated movies were affected by the behavior of characters in those movies - characters who typically drink and smoke more than those in other films. The results of the study, which involved more than 4,000 5th- through 8th-graders, were revealing.

"Among those who had no restrictions on R-rated films, they were more likely to have tried both tobacco and alcohol," said Jennifer Tickle, who worked on the study. Among kids who regularly watched R-rated films, nearly 50% had tried alcohol and more than 33% had tried smoking. However, of those kids whose parents banned such movies, only 4% had tried alcohol and 2% smoking. Indeed, the study found that parents restricting their kids' movie-viewing had greater impact than any other parenting characteristic they measured.

Although other behaviors such as violence, cursing, and habitual lying were not measured in the study, some pro-family leaders believe such movie content could have an equally pronounced impact on kids. One of those is Don Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, which focuses much of its effort combating the negative affects of the media on families.

"It just makes sense that a kid who is sympathetic to the cussing, lying, 'blow-'em-away' hero of their favorite movie will be influenced by that character's actions," Wildmon says.

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